Personnel: Tadd Dameron (piano, arranger); Fats Navarro (trumpet); Kai Winding (trombone); Sahib Shihab (alto saxophone); Dexter Gordon (tenor sax); Cecil Payne (baritone sax); Curly Russell (bass); Kenny Clarke (drums); Diego Ibarra (bongos); Vidal Bolado (conga); Rae Pearl (vocal on "Casbah")
Recorded in New York City, January 18th, 1949.
Here's something the like of which you don't hear every day. A bebop essay into wordless vocalised exotica, courtesy of El Enmascarado who has ripped us another vintage jazz 78 rpm disc.
Pianist / composer / arranger Tadd Dameron said at a 1953 recording session: "When I write something it's with beauty in mind. It has to swing, sure, but it has to be beautiful." Dameron's search for beauty expressed through music had its starting point when, as a medical student, he saw a body with an almost severed arm dangling from it. That was enough medicine for Tadd. "There's enough ugliness in the world," he decided. "I'm interested in beauty."
He soon acquired the standard big band swing experience which formed the musical background of the bop pioneers, working in the bands of Blanche Calloway, Zach White, Vido Musso, Harlan Leonard and Jimmie Lunceford. Tadd's move into a modern bop style came with his work for the bands of Billy Eckstine ("Cool Breeze") and Dizzy Gillespie ("Our Delight"). In 1947 he had his own small combo featuring brilliant trumpeter Fats Navarro, which recorded for Blue Note and Savoy.
(above: Tadd Dameron and Fats Navarro)
In 1948 his group became the house band at The Royal Roost, a Broadway chicken restaurant which had been running unsuccessful jazz nights until promoter Monte Kay and deejay Symphony Sid stepped in with a policy of promoting the new sounds in jazz combined with regular live radio broadcasts which proved to be fabulously successful.
Which brings us to 1949 where we find Tadd still in residence at The Royal Roost but now with an expanded lineup (sometimes known as "The Big Ten"), which in the eternal quest for beauty through music, combines bop with Latin rhythms. "Casbah" features the wordless singing of Rae Pearl. "Sid's Delight" (named after Symphony Sid) has the tenor sax of Dexter Gordon, who is uncredited on the record label, as you can see from El Enmascarado's scans.
This session for Capitol records was the last to be shared by Tadd Dameron and his collaborator in chief, trumpeter Fats Navarro whose requests for higher pay led to a split.
Many thanks to our collaborator El Enmascarado for the sounds 'n' scans.
2 CD set, Blue Note 3373.
"Jazz Masters Of The 40s" by Ira Gitler, Da Capo, 1984.